Can fishmeal replace animal plasma in young animal feed?

Animal Nutrition Views

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.

Can fishmeal replace animal plasma in young animal feed?

Voratham Yuangngoen | Dreamstime.com

Both ingredients are associated with increased feed intake in piglets

I was recently asked whether fishmeal can replace animal plasma. Obviously, the similarity in crude protein content on the one hand, and the wide disparity in cost on the other, made such question a very interesting one. Especially, as my client argued, when both ingredients increase feed intake. And, of course, he was not entirely wrong, either.

Fishmeal of superior quality has been traditionally associated with high feed intake in piglets. The advent of animal plasma eclipsed the use of fishmeal, especially when the latter was absorbed at better prices from the aquafeed industry. But, based on market intelligence, fishmeal is making a strong comeback attempting to reclaim at least part of its position in the feed industry. It is going to be a very interesting development for many nutritionists.

Here, we need to remind ourselves that fishmeal and animal plasma increase feed intake in young animals, but they do so from different perspectives. Perhaps this observation is of little significance to the end user (producer), but it becomes important for feed formulators. Different farm conditions can allow the use of the less expensive fishmeal, whereas others may dictate the need for the more expensive animal plasma. Even a blend of the two can be justified under certain circumstances. It is all about knowing how each feed ingredient works.

As a final point, it should be reminded that because fishmeal and animal plasma were first used as feed intake boosters, conditions under which we keep our young animals and even the basal diets have evolved. Responses, thus, to either ingredient can never be the same when the underlying rearing conditions have changes.